You are Atom’s atomic avenger, a great warrior in His service. Your goal is to spread His holy Fog across the Commonwealth and beyond. Protect your family, protect your brothers, your sisters. You are their guardian. You are Atom’s chosen, his hammer, his shield, you are Atom’s Bulwark!
All glory unto Atom!
Feeling pumped yet? Ready to go hug a leaky barrel of glowing green ooze that will clearly give you superpowers and in no way shape or form harm you? Excellent! Then you are ready to become Atom’s Bulwark! This build came as a result of the Far Harbor DLC for Fallout 4 which, in my opinion was absolutely amazing and almost makes me want to just stay in Far Harbor and never return to the Commonwealth. Almost. The aesthetic that was given to the Children of Atom faction in the DLC was amazing and the gear that they threw in to support the great content is really what makes this build. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures you will find throughout as this build was as much fun to craft for arms and armor as it was for story, gameplay and perks.
Simply put, you are a high endurance, high intelligence tank build. You will be making creative use of perks that will give you a huge boost in survivability and a huge helping of atomic flavoring. Your end game gear kit looks and functions great and really plays off some great synergy between your perks. Your ultimate rifle, the amazing Kiloton Radium Rifle alone will benefit from a synergized combination of six of your perks. At the end of the day though, the build is at heart a cultist, a devout soldier and follow of the Church of the Children of Atom. If you have spent any time in game then you know that the franchise’s namesake is at the core of what the faction is all about: Fallout, or rather, radiation.
Rads are a constant part of daily life in the post apocalyptic future. From food, to water, the flora, and the fauna, everything is warped and twisted by the eternal reach of Atom’s hand. The Children of Atom are unique in that many of them are born immune to radiation. Perhaps this is a genetic mutation to cope after 200 years of exposure? However, not all converts to the church have this immunity, and those rely on more conventional methods to deal with radiation. There is actually a quest in Far Harbor for the faction that revolves around this idea where a non-immune member has been fasting and getting sick by not taking Radaway or other treatment to heal (or eat it would seem) and another member is concerned and enlists your help to convince them to help themselves. One vendor even mentions that they have Radaway and there is no shame among the family to take some as all know not everyone was born with Atom’s blessing, it is only important if you embrace his message.
All that said, I did not want the build to be reliant on packing stacks of RadX and Radaway across the Commonwealth and Maine. To address this goal and to get that flavor we want for the playthrough and roleplay we are going to use a combination of Ghoulish and Solar Powered. Ghoulish heals when you take radiation damage, although it does not take away any rads it will heal up to them just as if you took a stimpack with no Radaway. Solar Powered does a similar thing but in regards to sunlight, and –does- remove rads. Standing outside, in daylight, you can go from fully irradiated health to completely full and fine in about 4 minutes which is exceptionally quick. By being smart about not hanging out around 10-20+ radiation spots for long periods of time at night or indoors, you should be able to just naturally heal off your rads thanks to Atom’s holy blessing and his fusion powered solar eye.
The rest of the build, the combat aspect of it really draws from the zealots of the Nucleus, the defense force and military unit that protects and guards the base of the Children of Atom in Far Harbor. The new marine armor is nothing short of amazing in the DLC and the Children of Atom themed modifications, the zealot and the higher grade inquisitor mods really make the armor look fantastic. Each of these warriors carry a radium rifle, a great new weapon that combines that radiation damage of a gamma gun and the physical damage of a conventional rifle. The resulting look and playstyle are what I might call a “commando” style build with heavy armor, adaptable mid range primary rifle, and some side armaments for close quarters fighting. And that’s about it for the overview. Lots of details below including the detailed stats, perks, gear, and suggestions and advice on gameplay and roleplay with the build. Enjoy and praise be to Atom!
Atom reached out and touched this world, bringing his Glow to us. It remains to this day, a reminder of his promise. Infinite worlds through divisions.
Atom’s veil will roll down its streets, holy Fog cleansing the land of their heresy!
Toughness: You are a walking wall of meat and metal and this massive boost to your damage mitigation will keep you trucking all day long across the wasteland. Skimping points here will rob you of a noticeable chunk of that heavy tank feel.
Medic: Tanks need heals! Everyone knows that. Level 4 medic is a little unnecessary given some of the perk choices below but having that big chunk restored in a big fight or after taking a mini-nuke to the face will be important to keeping you up.
Adamantine Skeleton: This was a late addition to the build in testing but one that I don’t regret in the least. Limb damage is something that seemed a nuisance at best in the base game Commonwealth but once I went to Far Harbor I was getting hurt all the time, sometimes two or three times per fight and I found myself have to waste stim packs on damaged limbs when I was still well above half health and a crippled tank hardly feels like a tank.
Solar Powered: This perk and the next one below are where we are going to get a lot of flavor in game as well as staying power. Atom’s Bulwark is at his core a disciple of Atom. That means lots, and lots of radiation damage. Solar powered allows us to artificially heal rads (but only in daylight) without having to take a never ending supply of Radaway. After only a few minutes in the sunlight you can heal a bar of irradiated health back to perfect. This truly made the Bulwark feel as if he had been blessed by Atom himself. Radaway certainly can and should be used when necessary (inside or at night) but short of sitting on top of a pile of leaky radioactive barrels you should heal naturally in the daylight just fine. The bonus of getting extra strength and endurance is also great and adds to the giant mound of health plus helping to buff up combat damage that is drained a bit by having lower base strength.
Ghoulish: Striding through Atom’s holy Glow you will be healed by the very air, but it is not without its cost. The second half of our blessing from Atom is Ghoulish. This is an interesting perk that makes it so that radiation actually heals you. Many mistake this perk to mean that you will never take rads and standing in water will just heal you right up. This is incorrect and Ghoulish only heals health below your current rad level (which will lower standing in radiation to get healing). This is where it combos with Solar Powered nicely as that perk actually does remove rads but only in sunlight. The end result is increased passive healing (quite noticeable at that), especially when fighting in Far Harbor and the Glowing Sea along with a big boost to flavor. Just wait for your first feral ghoul to stop his attack and bow to Atom’s holy warrior!
Rifleman/Commando: Pure ranged damage increase for your semi-automatic guns which is really the only thing you will be using. This is a really nice and a great perk for almost any build that uses rifles. Alternatively, with your bobblehead increase you can go for Commando instead if you prefer automatic weapons. More on that in the gear section regarding your preferred loadout.
Demolitions Expert: Massive utility and very important damage increase once you get your hands on your favorite explosive rifle detailed in the gear section. This perk stacks with the explosive legendary effect to great effect. Also goes a long way to helping utilize actual explosives in combat and give you a better ‘commando’ feel. Nuka grenades/mines and mini-nukes are also buffed and that just seems fitting given your devotion to Atom.
Big Leagues: Just like Rifleman above, this is pure damage increase and stacks quite nicely with the other buffs your will be providing your combat potential once you can acquire your favored loadout detailed in the gear section.
Nuclear Physicist: Did you know this perk increases radiation damage? I think we often forget that in addition to helping your fusion cores last longer; this perk increases radiation damage to the point of double damage just like the 5th level of Big Leagues or Rifleman. This is huge! Atom’s chosen relies on lots of radiation damage from both his ranged options, as well as his close combat weapons and turning 50 damage into 100, or 100 into 200 with only two points right here is absolute gold! The bonus here is that should you choose to use some power armor you can and won’t need to carry too many fusion cores.
Armorer: Important for modifying your favorite armors including your beautiful marine armor already seen in many of the build images. Also helps to modify other armor before you can get your hands on your primary equipment, as well as to buff up any companions or settlers you choose to arm.
Blacksmith: Pure and simple you need this to mod up your combat weapons. Depending on what you want to do for options you might be able to get away with only two points into the perk but to get the most of our your arsenal you will need all three.
Gun Nut: Again with the previous crafting perks, this is here to help you care for and tweak your weapons into the very best. The build only lists this perk as being to level 3 and not to the full 4 as you only need level 3 to unlock all the options for your primary firearm.
Science: All four level four points here, the lovely radium rifles of Far Harbor might only require Gun Nut 3 but they will require Science 4. Plus it just seems important for Atom’s Bulwark to be well versed in nuclear weapons and usage of nuclear power given the character’s background and interests. Any settlements you build will also have access to a fusion generator and I like my builds to bleed more flavor than Far Harbor has fog!
Lone Wanderer: Our final perk, this was one that I did not originally consider and I believe was actually the last perk I added to the finalized build. At first I did not care to include any charisma but after looking at some additional perks and reevaluating the S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats and perk choices I came to the conclusion that a mere single stat point (plus bobblehead) and three perk points we could make Atom’s Bulwark take 30% less damage, deal 25% more damage (from all sources!), and carry an extra 100 pounds of gear! This likely gives more power to the build than any single perk does, even Nuclear Physicist. Take this perk and I promise you won’t regret it!
You approach Atom’s holy ground. Why? State your purpose, or be divided in his sight.
*Some spoilers below*
Character Background and Motivations:
Obviously this build is really dependent on Far Harbor for the look of all the weapons and armor detailed below and on show throughout all the images on the page. That said, you technically can make the build work with just the base game. While you might not look like my Atom’s Bulwark, with the same perks and following the gameplay and roleplay options, with some suitable weapon and armor replacements, you too can get your own Children of Atom build.
Obviously at the core of the build is the character's faith. The Children of Atom are a religious...cult for lack of a better term in the Fallout world. The Church of the Children of Atom as it is known by its full name, believes that within every atomic mass there is an entire universe and that when said mass is split new universes are created. Because of this the Great War, when the bombs fell and the vaults were sealed, was actually a positive, creative moment and is holy to the Children. These events left the radiation that the CoA call “The Glow” which they see as the embodiment of Atom. Their ultimate goal in life is known as Division. Division is the act of splitting the atoms and thus creating universes. In the common vernacular, Division is basically the idea that they want to die in a nuclear blast and thus convert their lifeforce over to Atom so that new universes may spawn.
Now how exactly does your character, whose whole world was robbed by the bombs come over to see such an event as a positive one? This is likely the most important motivational point of the build and relates to the in-game backstory of the player character. You start pre-war, you enter Vault 111, you are cryogenically frozen, your spouse is murdered, and your child is taken while you are released to the wasteland. Going through such a thing is -traumatic-, very, very, very traumatic. How does one cope with such an event and such tragedy? Well in the real world in times of intense stress and unexplained lose, many often turn to religion for answers to those great “why” questions. Atom’s Bulwark is no different. After wandering the Commonwealth lost and confused they will ultimately stumble on the CoA either via the Far Harbor quest, or in the Glowing Sea. It is here that this desperate soul finds some kernel of positivity among the bleak blackness that once was their heart. It was Atom’s will that day that birthed a million universes, each one greater than the one he or she once knew. It was not the bombs that took his life, it was a man. He will fall into the Church’s teachings and find some measure of small comfort to what has happened. The impact of the perks in which you have chosen will only reassure him as radiation has peculiar effects upon him over others.
Now from a gameplay perspective this means a wandering playthrough. You don’t have the Lone Wanderer perk by accident! Travel the Commonwealth but don’t stay anywhere long. Don’t take up residence, don’t befriend many people, keep moving and feel free to go wherever you want. Perhaps you have some good items you want to use or want to go get your bobbleheads early. Whatever side quest you enjoy, whatever building looks interesting go there and get some levels under your belt. Be a lost soul. While I did say above you could go through the base game with the build it really is built for Far Harbor and it is at this time I would suggest going there. This is where you will meet your chosen faction and adopt them as your new family. Do all of the quests for the CoA and complete the ending of the main Far Harbor questline as you see fit, some suggestions can be found below. It is here that you will have some options as you return to the Commonwealth with your new found family, and your chosen weapons and armor. I decided to label these choices as paths and as I see them, there are three general directions you can go:
The defense of your people, your family, each of your brothers and sisters in the service of hallowed Atom is your primary objective. All around you they are beset by innumerable threats and terrors that seek to end them before Division can take them. You stand by the side of your fellow zealots of the Nucleus, those who guard its walls and people. You report directly to Grand Zealot Richter and look up to him for the leadership and strength he shows the Church. You fully embrace your role as the Bulwark. Going out into the rest of the world, including back to the Commonwealth you seek to make a stand and protect all of Atom’s holy land, and Atom’s holy people. You are not aggressive, more reactionary and protective. That said, you will ultimately join the Brotherhood of Steel. Through talking with the Grand Zealot you learn more about his past with the Enclave who squared off in the Capital Wasteland and lost to the Brotherhood. He tells you tales of his former enemies' power, strength, and discipline and you decide that those tools could be useful. You join them in the hopes of returning with that training to your fellow zealots so that no force on earth might overcome your master soldiers. The atomic destruction you will cause before this choice is done will feel all the better that you made the right decision and Atom’s will was done.
Returning to the Commonwealth you seek to rid the scourge across the land that is the unbeliever, the heretics. You suspect everyone of offending Atom and your fervor knows no bounds as you travel across the wasteland. You seek the power to route out all those who will not bend the knee to Atom. You seek to cleanse the world in Atom’s holy fire and bring Division, willing or not to everyone and everything. Only through Division can you be reunited with your entire family. When you finally find your son you want to teach him the error of his ways and seek that glorious life after this in a new universe, together with his mother, your wife. You will appease him and preach the ways of Atom. And despite fate’s cruel plans for you and him, you will refuse to take no for an answer. No, you will harness the power of science, the power of the Atom and you will find Division. You will seek to find your son again, your wife, and bring all into Atom’s glorious embrace and baptise them in the holy fires of atomic destruction.
Despite the warmongering and passion others in the Church might have, you have grown weary of fighting. You seek peace. Indeed, in Far Harbor, by working with others you found that there could be peace, of a sorts, among your people, and the rest of the Island’s denizens. Peace through unity, trust through unity, conversion through trust. You return to the Commonwealth changed and world weary. You seek to preach the good name of Atom and bring more into your flock. You are a warrior-priest and will work to help others so that they will listen to the words of Atom and learn of holy Division and the peace it might bring and the hope that in Division more universes, each greater than that last will spawn. You join the Minutemen and work with them to help the Church expand in a new and unprecedented way. You give aid, offering your gun and hammer in defence of the settlers of the Commonwealth and earn their trust. Through trust they listen to your words and convert themselves. Build them shrines and homes as best you can so that they will tell others of Atom’s great power and generosity. Gift them weapons and robes in his image and build an empire across the wasteland worthy of Atom’s glory.
(The Far Harbor DLC gives us a lot of great tools including banners and flags for the faction and the hanging/sitting bottles of radioactive liquid that hang all over the CoA locations in Far Harbor. Arm your settlers like you see those in the Nucleus. Guards can be outfitted as zealots in spare marine armor with zealot mods sold by Brother Kane in the Nucleus. Additionally, lots of radium rifles can be bought and upgraded. Your other settlers, the farmers, scrappers, vendors, can be given Children of Atom robes and other garb. I even built one of the new Far Harbor settlements, Echo Lake Lumber, as a monastery of sorts with a huge soaring cathedral to Atom and a walled residential section for my robed settler monks, preaching the word of Atom’s glory!)
There were so many options to go for and nothing really clear cut that I wanted to give rationale and a path to each type of player to follow after the Far Harbor DLC. Each of the paths above represents the Brotherhood, Institute, and Minutemen quest lines. I declined to make a Railroad option as there was no way a synth favoring faction would be joined as synths are naturally immune to radiation and therefore almost an abomination in Atom’s eyes. This is why they also work with the zealot and inquisitor options eliminating them, as well as going for the “nuclear” option in the ending to the Far Harbor DLC, while the more calm cleric path seeks peace both in Far Harbor and the least casualties in the Commonwealth...but still unleashes that sweet sweet Glow. Any of these can be good and I am curious to which people will like better and hope some try them!
Just remember a few general suggestions and tips in no particular order. Always venerate Atom and instead of avoiding radiation utilize your perks to embrace that radiation. Feral ghouls will sometimes befriend you and this can be really interesting as ferals are seen as “lost” of sorts. Helping these creatures touched by Atom’s Glow can be a rewarding option. The Far Harbor DLC added lots of CoA facepaint! Use it! As mentioned above you are anti-synth and therefore will find yourself supporting some interesting groups. One is the division in the Covenant quest line. At the same time you like ghouls. You might even be a little envious of their connection with Atom and find comfort in them around you. Goodneighbor might just be the closest thing you can find to a home in the Commonwealth. That said that won’t stop you from RPing the spreading of Atom’s faith and talking to your neighbors about the glory of the Glow!
Overall I would not suggestion you play with many companions. Certainly the use of the Lone Wanderer perk plays into this decision as that boost in incoming and outgoing damage and carry weight is a big buff to our mighty Bulwark. But from a roleplay perspective there are really very few companions that approve of the Children of Atom. I am pretty sure that even if you murder all of the friendly Children of Atom in the Glowing Sea not a single companion dislikes it, even the ones that turn immediately hostile towards you if you kill a settler. The newest follow for Far Harbor, Old Longfellow even goes so far as to hate every positive action you take with the Children of Atom. Perhaps the only follower that from a personality perspective would tolerate or support your chosen faction is Strong. While his race is the result of the human created FEV virus, Strong still likes threats, violence, killing, getting loot, dislikes stealing, picking locks, power armor, charisma checks? Yeah…that could work! Feel free to travel about with him a bit but don’t forget that juicy buff from Lone Wanderer. Through getting to know Piper you might learn she is technically a member of the Church from a previous journey in her past! Maybe she should be reminded of that experience! Those other companions are clearly just heretics who don’t recognize the impossible power of Atom!
And when we are finally granted Division, it will be as heroes! A new day dawns, brothers and sisters!
The gear is really the core of the build as the roleplay options, while numerous, do not hold you to the theme of the build quite the same way the aesthetic of the weapons and armor can do. For weapons we will have the combination of a close combat weapon for close quarters and a variable rifle for medium to long range engagements. And the perfect weapons for any true defender of Atom and his Children are Atom’s Judgement and the legendary Kiloton Radium Rifle.
Melee Weapon- Atom’s Judgement-
For up close, personal, and often confided locations we have Atom’s Judgement. This is a super sledge quest reward from one of the Children of Atom quests in the Far Harbor DLC that literally has four smashed fusion cores strapped to the head and deals an enormous 100 radiation damage at base level with no perks in addition to its physical damage. This is a great starting point for us and will see our damage go very high despite a modest investment in strength. You will want to install the stun pack mod for more damage from energy and allow you the chance to stagger some bigger enemies that can stand up to Atom’s Judgement. When you have your full complement of perks you are heavily influencing your damage output via Nuclear Physicist for double radiation damage, Big Leagues for double melee damage plus other bonus features, Lone Wanderer for pure damage increase, Solar Powered for strength increase during the day plus any food/chem/armor/etc. buffs, and lastly Blacksmith to be able to smith your stun pack. Overall this weapon looks absolutely amazing and very intimidating as you wave it around and the cloud of sickly green radiation emanates from its head and you cleave through packs of lost feral ghouls, buildings full of heretics, or alleys of threatening super mutants.
Ranged Weapon- Kiloton Radium Rifle-
Your ranged gear is handled solely by a single firearm, the absolutely magnificent Kiloton Radium Rifle. This gun is nothing short of amazing and truly a gift directly from Atom himself for this build and one of the key items that inspired me in the first place. The base radium rifle is a submachine gun looking rifle from the Far Harbor DLC that adds radiation damage to your regular bullet damage. The Kiloton Radium Rifle, sold by Brother Kane in the Children of Atom home base, has the legendary explosive effect combining radiation damage, physical damage, and explosive damage. This means an awful lot of synergy with our perks and I will walk through that synergy below with a few options and suggestions for how to mod it and run it. First we have our extra damage multipliers with Nuclear Physicist and Demolitions Expert which double the radiation and explosive damage respectively. This is a huge increase right off the bat and despite some enemies in the game being immune to radiation damage, that explosive damage is brutal and the area of effect can start chipping enemies down very quickly with only mildly accurate shots. Lone Wanderer gives us our blanket damage increase and Gun Nut 3 and Science 4 gives us all the ranks to be able to craft any and all modifications available to the weapon.
The real choice here comes down to Rifleman or Commando depending on if you want to go semi-auto or full automatic. The Kiloton Radium Rifle can do both quite well and really it can be down to personal preference. I prefer a semi-auto approach personally as I like more accurate shots going for headshots and a more clear approach, but going full auto with some good mods can mean a world of hurt for those downrange. Semi-auto also helps with what I feel is only a medium size clip. You can also stick on whatever scope works best for you but a reflex sight seemed to give the most versatility for medium range. Remember you are extremely tanky and can stand a lot of punishment, don’t be afraid to close in from a couple long range opening shots to take enemies on better. That said, a silencer is quite nice to allow those opening shots to count and I felt gave the gun a lot of recoil stabilization, even more so than a muzzle break or compensator. Overall the Kiloton is a fantastic weapon and an ideal rifle for this build.
Armor- Atom’s Bulwark, Inquisitor’s Cowl & Marine Armor-
A true tank needs a suit of armor worthy of the name and this choice fits that requirement ‘to a T’. Marine armor is a new set of heavy armor from the Far Harbor DLC that surpasses even fully modded heavy combat armor from the base game in its damage and energy resistance and even has a lot of radiation resistance to boot. Beyond that though is that this armor makes you look like a walking tank and gives you two options for colors. The first, base level color is a predominantly dark blue armor color, the second makes the armor a dark greenish brown and adds Children of Atom designs cut into the metal all over the whole suit! You can see this armor in all of the build pictures and all the zealots, the protectors of the Nucleus base in Far Harbor, sport this armor. The armor has 3 variations that can be changed through the armor bench with the assault variant as the uniformed blue color, and the zealot, and higher stat but still same look inquisitor variant, which is what you will want. The major downside of this armor is that it is heavy, and I mean heavy. Weighing in just under 100 pounds it is about as heavy as T-60 power armor off its frame! To combat this I would –highly- suggest going with the ultra-light modification for all the pieces. This drops the armor down to the low 40s for carry weight for the entire suit and is much more manageable and allows you to lug a lot more equipment and junk around.
You can purchase the base zealot armor pieces and then mod them up yourself from Brother Kane in the Nucleus, or you can get a full suit of the assault variants by just following the main quest through Far Harbor and you can again modify them into the inquisitor variant. Alternatively, there are some legendary options, namely the recon variant, sold by various vendors across the Island for HUGE prices, like 10k+ prices. If you have the caps go for it, if not that is fine just go with normal pieces. The chest piece though should absolutely be Atom’s Bulwark. This is the final quest reward from the Children of Atom line and the namesake for this build. It gives you more resistance the higher your radiation levels and while this build isn’t designed to operate that low, the flavor and option to sit that low on health walking around the Glowing Sea or other areas can make you nigh invincible.
Lastly the head slot. The marine armor variant only has one helmet I can find and that is the recon variant, again very expensive, and as far as I can tell cannot be modded to be the Children of Atom look. This is likely why no Children of Atom zealot NPCs have helmets. I liked not having a helmet as well as it showed off my sick CoA face paint, but if you want the protection and more ominous look the Inquisitor’s Cowl is perfect. Another quest reward from the CoA line, this helmet gives you a very intimidating, vacant look with the mask and cowl. It is the same color as your marine armor and gives you extra intelligence the higher your rad level and operates just like Atom’s Bulwark and can be used in much the same way. Overall, this aesthetic is amazing and looks so good that it really is what made me want to do the build in the first place.
Bring Atom’s judgment to the heretic.
I think that is about it. Thank you all so much for reading and checking out the build. I really loved this build and making it was a blast and I hope you give it and the Far Harbor DLC a chance! I promise you will not regret it!
Glad to see you got this up. A lot of good stuff in there. Maybe a little heavy on words/long paragraphs...but otherwise a lot of synergy throughout. When I first grabbed the kiloton rifle, I knew it would be a good starting point to a build like this...it's so beast - well done.
Instead of Strong take Piper, since she's technically a member. Although that's only the case because she was trying to avoid being executed by them.
Dude, I am not a Fallout 4 fan, I won't read your build until I start & finish Far Harbor, but your character looks is so awesome!!! Well done! I can't wait to read this in a couple days!
Great job. I am playing something similar with no melee, and also shotguns. This was really coll.
are there any radioactive shotguns??